New York designers have a well-established history of keeping their fingers on the pulse of technology. This is apparent not only in the design of the clothes, but the means used to present them as well.
In 1998, Austrian wunderkind Helmut Lang skipped a formal runway presentation, opting to debut 81 looks from his fall collection digitally via CD-ROM. Hailed as the first to do so, Lang shaped the future of how fashion images are disseminated among the public.
In a similar streak of innovation, queen of cling Kim Shui (who worked in merchandising for Lang prior to the foundation of her own brand in 2016) will commemorate her fall 2022 show by launching into the metaverse.
Titled Edition 001, the project comprises three one-of-a-kind jade keys that will be made available for auction on NFT marketplace OpenSea. Although digital, the lucky winners of these keys will receive a very real dress of their choosing alongside a surprise airdrop from the designer herself. The cherry on top? Each keyholder will be invited to experience Kim Shui’s runway show in-person on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. EST.
“I like that at the core of open blockchain networks and the digital tokens used within them is this idea of a decentralized, transparent forum where everyone can participate,” the designer told WWD.
Born in America to Chinese parents, Shui was raised in Rome and schooled in London at Central Saint Martins- a multicultural upbringing that feeds into her unapologetically seductive designs. The asymmetrical body-conscious silhouettes and splashy patterns that have become her signature are meant to empower her clientele. The designer views Edition 001 as a natural extension of this mission.
“My hopes are too that because our followers and community are 90 percent women that this can encourage other women to participate [in the metaverse] and amplify female voices in the space.”
Shui rendered the keys in jade due to the stone’s deeper symbolic value in Chinese culture: it is a protector against evil and provider of health and good fortune — powers everyone could use more of in 2022. The blooming rosebud on top mirrors the inspiration behind her upcoming collection, which the designer says will explore a softer side of female sensuality.